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Getting Voted Back onto the Island; Part 4 – Gathering: Tactical, Intellectual and Societal Needs

by | Oct 31, 2008

An increasing number of business continuity professionals and disaster recovery experts are discovering that the most vulnerable links in the continuity of operations chain are the people a business serves and the people who serve them. While this seems intuitively obvious now, for decades resolving the fragility of technology has been the exclusive focus of the industry. 

 

This series has explored in detail why both employees and customers are prone to staying away from business sites, gathering their “tribe” close and effectively voting businesses off the island. The last month, this series explored Gratifying: Emotional, Interpersonal and Spiritual Needs, discovering that in this technology-centric society, it is not the employer with the best information infrastructure, but the employer with the best employee relationships that comes out on top. 

 

Beyond Heart and Soul to Head and Home

Employers that provide for and support the emotional, interpersonal and even spiritual needs of their employees garner the loyalty of those employees as well as membership in each individual employee’s tribe. However, like any member of the tribe, it is not enough just to support the tribe’s intangible needs; there must be a contribution to the tribe’s ability to regain self-sufficiency. This requires that the employee and the tribe gain skills and knowledge to assist them in preparing for and responding to a disaster. Additionally, everyone’s connection to the community as it recovers must be promoted and maintained.

 

Building for Tactical and Intellectual Success

The “bread and butter” of business continuity planning is the development of skills and knowledge to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the business. What many employers and even business continuity professionals are only now coming to realize is that for an employee to be successful with these skills at work, the employee must be able to adapt and adopt these skills at home to ensure the uninterrupted operations of the tribe. Employers can best contribute to the employee’s tribe in a meaningful way by ensuring that the business continuity and disaster preparedness skills learned in the workplace have application at home as well.

 

Fortunately, the majority of business continuity skills and preparedness lessons learned in the workplace are directly applicable to the employee’s home, family and tribe. 

  • Securing critical data and original legal documents in an offsite location such as a safe deposit box. 
  • Regularly backing up computer records and even family photos onto DVD-ROM / CD-ROM.
  • Performing yearly reviews of insurance coverage and physical home security.
  • Review and drill the family disaster plan at least twice a year.

 

These are but a small example of the business continuity skills and knowledge that can easily become “family continuity” skills and knowledge. Furthermore, “making it personal” in this fashion increases the likelihood that an employee will recall the skills and information correctly.

 

Supporting Societal Bonds

As communities and local social life reconstitutes itself in the aftermath of a disaster, the natural instinct and desire of individuals, families and “tribes” is to participate in the societal recovery. The bonds built during this period are often stronger than those that existed before the disaster. This offers a significant opportunity for the business that has positioned itself, through planning and disaster preparedness, to benefit from this period of bonding.

 

Employers who develop relationships with employees and their tribes will become a part of every societal bond that an employee or the tribal member makes during the recovery. This imbues the employer with the reputation of being altruistic and service oriented. Both are invaluable marketing attributes anytime, but especially following a disaster.

 

In addition to this indirect benefit, businesses that promote the recovery of the local community and society never go unnoticed. In over a quarter century of disaster response and recovery work, I have never encountered a business that went out of its way to support the community recovery that did not benefit directly through new customers, returning customers and long lasting customer loyalty.

 

The Hierarchy Complete 

Whether viewing the needs of employees, family members, customers or ourselves on a Maslow or Shultz hierarchy, it is clear that by surviving the physical needs while gratifying the emotional, interpersonal and spiritual needs is the key to remaining part of the tribe. Further, through the application of basic business continuity planning skills to the family, a business can transcend disaster survival.

 

The next segment of this series will examine, 

Part 5 – Thriving Through the Disaster.

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Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
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